Good lord, how did most of a year get away from me?! I was chatting to Robbie from Palm Rae Potager who prompted me, in the nicest way, to post. A lot has happened since we last parted ways. I almost feel like I should be saying “Forgive me Father for I have sinned…”
Life has been busy and interesting. The film course has kept us on our toes and we have managed to put a “short documentary” notch on both of our belts. I will share the links to what we came up with below. Steve chose one of our lecturer’s, George, who is also a guitarist, to star in his documentary and I chose one of our good friends who has led a most interesting life. Here are the links to the documentaries if you are interested in seeing them. Please note, for some reason they are part of the way through the video rather than at the beginning when you click on them so please click at the beginning of the video so that you can see them in their entirety 🙂
Here’s my documentary…
And here’s Steve’s…
I have been cooking up a vegan storm. Because Steve is now a vegan, it makes cooking a whole lot easier and we have been getting very inventive. It certainly makes it easier at dinner time. I found a truly magnificent vegan chocolate cake recipe that makes two cakes with standard cupboard ingredients that anyone would have in their cupboards. Everyone who has tried this cake (vegan and otherwise) has loved it so I will share the link to the recipe here, again, in case anyone would like to make it.
And here is a sequence of images showing that Earl gives the cake his seal of approval…
I don’t know if any of you remember but I bought a spinning wheel a few years ago, ostensibly because my son’s partner Kelsey bought one and I had always wanted one. I picked it up second hand on Gumtree (our equivalent to Craig’s List) and promptly forgot all about it. I kept falling over it in my craft room and decided that enough was enough and that if I wasn’t going to learn to spin I may as well sell it. I decided to learn to spin and am now seriously addicted.
I have gone to a couple of classes where I met some lovely ladies and have settled on a group in Launceston who meet up every second Wednesday afternoon. Everyone sits around in a small hall and spins and talks etc. and it’s quite lovely to spend time with like minded people. They also sell yarns etc. so thus keep us seriously addicted and coming back.
Through one of the lovely ladies in the group, Gladys, I met another lovely lady called Jennifer. She was offloading most of her fleece collection and I took serious advantage of the good prices to avail myself of a decent proportion of her collection. I now have all kinds of alpaca fleece, sheep’s wool, mohair and cotton to spin whenever I fancy.
I have met a lot of seriously nice people lately including fellow class members. For my birthday, Sue and Taylah, a mother and daughter dynamic duo that are studying film with us, brought me in some lovely yellow roving to spin as well as a couple of wonderful dye kits that we can experiment with. Steve and I are going to attempt to dye some fleece this weekend. I am in fleece heaven!
I also bought two more spinning wheels as they were so cheap (also on Gumtree) and one of them is a small upright wheel which takes up a lot less room in the car when I have to take it with me so that sealed the deal. The wheels came with a lot more spinning accouterments that I didn’t already own so were a serious bargain. The lovely elderly lady who sold me the wheels also gave me some big bags of fleece. I looked into them and noticed that they had been sitting in her shed for about 20 years and were most likely unable to be used for anything other than mulch but I was most polite and thanked her and the bags were tipped out into Sanctuary when we got home. It was lucky really as there had been all kinds of interesting bugs that had multiplied in the fleece over the years and Sanctuary was most glad of her new mulch layer. I am sure the rats will enjoy it also but that will give the feral cats something to eat other than the local birds.
Steve had to do a bit of rudimentary mending on the wheels but I took the upright wheel to my daughter’s house a fortnight ago to give me something to do while I was minding their little dog. They don’t have television and I decided that a nice quiet weekend was on the cards. I spun up a few bobbins of yarn and my son Stewart, his partner Kelsey and I went up to see Jennifer and bought some more fleece.
Jennifer lives in a most beautiful part of the state called Deloraine and lives not far out of town but on a 50 acre property so she has plenty of privacy and room to move. She is one of the most talented people that I have ever met and that is not said lightly. She showed Kelsey and I some absolutely glorious free form crochet and knitting (hybridised) that she had turned into the most lovely floor length coat that would look perfectly at ease on a Paris catwalk. She also dyes her own yarn after spinning it and uses natural dyes to do so. Here are some of her hand spun, naturally dyed yarns that I bought from her. OK, so I already shared them further up in the post and am too lazy to move them here so just remember that lovely yarn from further up in the post OK?
Jennifer has told Kelsey and I that she will show us how to dye indigo, something that I am most interested in. She also gave me some weld seeds and plant material for dyeing fleece yellow and a madder plant that dyes fleece various shades of red depending on what you use to mordant it (I think that means set the colour but don’t quote me on that, I am NO dye expert!) I have kept it in the house and it has started to grow along with my water chestnuts sent to me by the wonderful Bev from foodnstuff. I keep topping the water chestnut water up with rain water and I planted them out into some mud from the bottom of Sanctuary and they seem to be most happy with the deal. I have no idea when it will be warm enough to plant them out as we have had a particularly cold winter this year but as soon as the barometer changes, you can bet your shiny metal A$% I will be out there, tail up sloshing around in a wicking bed and planting them out. I need to dedicate a wicking bed to them as they need to be submerged in water to grow.
The seasons are starting to change now and I am getting itchy to get back into the garden. Sanctuary is going to have a top dressing of chicken coop hay and lots of feathers from Roosters that have gone by the wayside (via Earl and Bezial’s dinner bowls) as we have had to cull them severely. I am loath to waste anything nowadays and the fleece that I got with my wheels has covered a decent area of soil that was previously uncovered. Keeping the soil covered is tantamount to keeping the soil healthy in our summer where it rarely rains.
Jennifer gave me some very large bags of sheep dags (the wooly bit at the rear end of the sheep that tends to contain a goodly proportion of dried dung when they are being shorn) that I am going to tip out onto Sanctuary as well. The soil keeps getting better and better up there and along with the chook shed hay and rooster feathers Cindernarf SHALL have her healthy soil.
Here’s a tiny video that Steve shot of me spinning and turned into a video.
Steve made me a 4 poster bed WAY back when we were living on the other side of the country in a small town in Western Australia. I wanted a tall bed and ended up with the mattress over a metre off the ground. I loved it but we don’t sleep in it any more and it was taking up some serious space in my craft room so we headed back to good old Gumtree and found a delightful futon for sale locally that the nice man delivered to us (no mean feat with our driveway) and the next day Steve and I took old Betsy the bed apart and reduced her down to a tasty pile of lumber that he can use for other projects and we trundled in new Betsy to take her place. Now I can use new Betsy to sit on in my craft room (if I can stop Earl from hogging her) and if by some unlikely circumstance, some poor foolish person decides that they want to stay with two dyed in the wool (pun fully intended) hermits and their mad fur babies, there is a facsimile of a “bed” when new Betsy is folded out. Now I can fit my stash into the room. I haven’t sorted it all out yet but it’s lovely just knowing that I not only have a craft room, but that I can actually move in it as well 🙂
Well, I don’t want to tax your minds folks. I know you have likely forgotten who the heck I am and I did feel a bit guilty whenever I noticed that some poor deluded soul had signed up to follow my blog, not knowing that they would have to check in their sense of normalcy at the door whenever they dropped by. So I will head off now into the sunset and hopefully, there won’t be a 4 month wait till I mosey back!